Super Chili for the Super Chill

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When you have the opportunity to use a lean protein (turkey), a superfood (sweet potatoes), and a longevity food (beans), you should. Because, balance. And bonus: you don’t have to baby this meal. You mix it all up and walk away for most of the day and come back to dinner.

And, BONUS: this chili won first place at a chili cook off. You can make award winning food at home!

Into a crock pot, add one package of ground turkey, 2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans, one can of drained diced tomatoes, one can of diced tomatoes and their liquid, 2 peeled and diced small sweet potatoes, one and a half diced yellow onions (reserve the remaining half to top the chili), 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. [Theresa, Kierra, and Alexis: maybe 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Joe: either a full teaspoon or add 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes.] If you’re going with a vegetarian option, add an extra can of black beans and another sweet potato in lieu of the ground turkey.

Stir all this together so you can break up any large portions of ground turkey and coat everything in the spices. Cook on low 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally if possible. Around here, we like to serve over a handful of corn chips, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, raw diced yellow onions, full-fat Greek yogurt, and some thinly sliced green onions. Greek yogurt tastes a lot like sour cream and I use it for a lot more than I would sour cream. It’ll be our secret.

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Goes on Everything Peanut Sauce (with Pan Fried Tofu and Cucumber Noodles)

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Press and drain 1 package of extra firm tofu. Cut into 1/2″ cubes or slices and brown over medium heat in approximately 3 tablespoons of oil. This should be approximately 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool.

Spiralize two English cucumbers, discarding the core of the cucumber. Dry on a paper towel so the cucumbers stay crisp. If you don’t have a spiralizer, peel the cucumber, then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the channel of seeds using a spoon. Slice thinly across, cutting the cucumbers into crescent shapes. Spread across a paper towel to drain.

While everything is drying a bit, stir together 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Keep stirring while adding in 1/4 cup of warm water. The warm water helps melt everything enough to mix it together. If you need a bit more water, add slowly. Separately, you can and should use this sauce for everything. It tastes so good. If you buy unsalted peanut butter because you’re known to share it with the puppy dog in your life, add a bit more soy sauce to taste. If you’re gluten-free, substitute tamari.

Plate the cucumbers, top with sauce then tofu, finish with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Because this doesn’t need to be served warm, it packs well for lunches.

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Orzo Pasta Salad

DSC_0056I spent the first 10 years of my life steadfastly avoiding beans because of that stupid rhyme from when we were all kids. I spent the next 15 avoiding beans because I genuinely couldn’t handle the texture. But I’ve learned that if I disguise it in enough other textures, I’m on board.

Dice 1/2 of a red onion and marinate in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. While that’s marinating, cook 1 cup of orzo according to package directions. Rinse. Add to red onion mixture. Drain and rinse two cans of pinto beans, then add to mixture. Add 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 peeled, seeded and diced English cucumber, 1/2 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes, the zest of one small lemon, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, and 1/2 cup of kalamata olives (optional). Mix all this together. Finally, fold in one cup of crumbled feta.

Serve over spinach and/or arugula if you need more green in this dish. Serve with shredded chicken if you don’t partake in Meatless Mondays!

 

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Crabby Fries

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Slice up two clean potatoes and toss lightly in a teaspoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Begin to air fry at 400 until crisp. This will depend in part on your frier. Move the fries about in the basket every so often to keep the air circulating around the fries and crisping them. If you don’t have an air frier, lay the oiled potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Bake at 400 for approximately 35 minutes. Check on them often as cooking time will vary.

In a blender, combine 1 room temperature egg with 1 tablespoon minced garlic. With the motor running, stream in 1 1/2 cups fruit olive oil then 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Once thoroughly combined, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 ground pepper and pulse for about ten seconds. Listen, we never registered for a blender because we already have a food processor and it seemed silly to have a large counter top appliance that does what our food processor does. I use our immersion blender to make this aoili and it works just as well.

In a small bowl, combine a drained can of crab meat with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches Old Bay seasoning.

When your fries are cooked, squeeze garlic aoili over them, then scoop crab mixture over them. Top with finely chopped green onions. Eat hot.

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Savory or Sweet Ricotta Pizza

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Pizza dough:

Combine 3 3/4 cup bread flour (you can use all-purpose if you don’t keep bread flour on hand), 1 teaspoon honey, 1 packet instant dry yeast, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in bowl of a stand mixer. With mixer going, stream in 1 1/2 cups warm but not steaming water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Your dough should combine into a solid ball. If it looks too dry, add an additional tablespoon of water. Dump out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently. Grease large bowl with olive oil, place dough inside. Cover with wrap, let sit in a warm place for 1 hour. If it’s never warm where you are, place it on a heating pad set to warm. Makes two 12-14″ crusts.

While the dough is proofing, thinly slice one fennel bulb and saute in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium for 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Ricotta topping:

Combine one container of ricotta cheese (approximately 1.5 cups) with the zest of one small lemon, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

When ready, roll your dough out into two crusts and top with the ricotta mixture. Add fresh arugula, dried tarragon, sauteed fennel, and sliced peppadew peppers. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and a bit of pepper and a light pass of Parmesan. Cook at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

If you don’t keep arugula or fennel on hand (or don’t like them), omit the red pepper flakes and Parmesan. Instead, top with shaved Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions and pomegranate seeds; serve with a squeeze of honey over your slice.

 

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Blistered Carrots with Labneh

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Wash a bunch of carrots. I used rainbow carrots but regular orange ones are great. Don’t peel them. If you find that your carrots have a big size difference, consider slicing the largest ones in halves or in quarters. Preheat your oven to 450. Or, if you’re making three ingredient roast chicken, wait until the last fifteen minutes of your cook time to begin cooking your carrots.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, drop your carrots in and allow them to cook about a minute before flipping them and searing on the other side. Then, place skillet into the oven and cook at 450 for 20 minutes. If you’ve done the math and realized that this will take you past the time your chicken will be cooked, that’s on purpose. Your chicken needs time to rest before you carve it, giving you time to finish your carrots.

Remove your carrots from the oven and plate. Spread a quarter cup of labneh over them, and drizzle your favorite olive oil + herb sauce. For some of you, this will be pesto. I went with yogurt dip seasoning (dried basil, dried mint, taragon, garlic flakes, onion flakes, pepper and salt) rehydrated in a bit of olive oil. If you have a pine nut sensitivity, blend together 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, two cloves of garlic and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt together and use that to top your labneh.

Serve hot. Serves two.

If you cant find labneh, you should know that it’s basically just strained Greek yogurt. You can use regular Greek yogurt or strain it yourself in some cheese cloth.

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Let Them Eat Almond Cake

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Cream 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar together. Add 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites, you’re using them, too!) and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3/4 teaspoon almond extract, and the zest of one lemon (avoid the pith, it’s bitter and won’t taste good in your cake). Stir until combined. Fold in 1 cup almond meal, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cake flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder.

In a separate dry bowl, whip the three egg whites until they begin to get frothy. When they begin to get frothy, add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. When you have stiff peaks, fold egg whites into the almond and flour mixture. Pour into a greased cake pan and bake 30 minutes at 350. Remove and let cool on wire baking rack for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.

While cake is cooling, heat juice of three lemons and 1 tablespoon lavender flowers. Let steep 5 minutes, then strain to remove the flowers. Add in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and stir to combine. Pour glaze over the cooled cake. Press lavender flowers in while the glaze is warm to decorate if you’re artsy. Otherwise, let cool about 10 minutes after the glaze is applied and serve.

Some notes: if using a stand mixer, whip the egg whites on high. Everything you read on the internet will tell you to whip them at a low to medium speed. And on a stand mixer, this will get you nowhere. With a handheld mixer, start at medium and if you don’t see progress, increase the speed slowly. You should see serious progress in just a couple of minutes and have achieved stiff peaks in about five minutes. If you’re considering whipping the egg whites by hand, good luck and God speed.

Different flavor options:

  • Instead of lavender, steep fresh basil leaves in the hot lemon juice.
  • Substitute orange zest in for lemon zest and fresh squeezed orange juice for the lemon juice. Omit the lavender and instead whisk a teaspoon of vanilla extract into the warm orange juice and powdered sugar. In the alternate, throw some pineapple chunks into the warm orange juice in place of the lavender.
  • Substitute grapefruit zest in for lemon zest, and grapefruit juice and fresh mint for the lemon and lavender.

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